Winter is notorious for bugs,germs, coughs and sniffles. And sometimes there can be no escaping the common cold, so if you do catch one, don’t fret. It happens to the best of us! That said, there are ways that you can make sure your recovery from such ailments is improved, and perhaps you can even ward off a few more illnesses too once the weather really starts to turn. Here are five tips for staying healthy this Winter.
It’s SO tempting to skip the regular swim when it’s cold and rainy. More so to ditch the run altogether when winds are high and icy rain is slicing across your face. But that doesn’t mean you need to drop your whole fitness routine completely. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining health and fitness levels, and it raises self esteem, boosts energy and sleep quality, and helps to reduce the risk of stress and depression too. Not to mention the health benefits:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of osteoarthritis
- Lower risk of cancer
Additionally, regular exercise stimulates brain chemicals that are responsible for helping you feel relaxed and happy- so what more do you need to know?
Adjust your exercise habits in the Winter, but don’t ditch them altogether. If you run, invest in some warm running clothes so that you can keep up with your routine. If you swim, make sure you spend a little longer drying your hair afterwards and wrap up warmly when you leave the pool. Sometimes it can make all the difference!
Alternatively, amend the type of exercise you do. If you can’t face trekking out to a class, invest in some DVDs that you can practise safely at home instead. Yoga, pilates or even aerobic exercises can be done easily at home, without the need to go outside and get cold.
If you keep up with your regular exercise routine, your body will be stronger and more able to combat anything that Winter wants to throw at you!
You might not fancy salads when the weather is cold, but that’s fine. We naturally crave richer, warmer foods when the weather is cold- see our previous post on how to eat healthily in Winter. Your diet is so important when the weather turns because you need the extra vitamins, minerals and calories to keep warm. Not only that, but you also need to eat well alongside your exercise routine as the two go hand in hand for optimum health.
Increase the amount of spices you add to your food, if you can, as this will help to keep your digestive system working well and will boost your immune system too. Great foods to add to your diet in Winter include:
- dark, leafy greens
During Winter, many of us like to ‘hibernate’ and tend to cancel social engagements in favour of a night cuddled on the sofa in fluffy socks and dressing gowns. There is nothing wrong with this now and then, and if you are feeling under the weather then its probably the best plan all round. But don’t fall into the habit of breaking all plans over the Winter. Social interaction is important for your well-being in many ways, and being with friends helps us to feel relaxed, happy and confident too.
If you really can’t face a night on the tiles, invite friends round to you for a meal, or take a trip to the cinema instead. Stay connected with the outdoor world and don’t be tempted to take up a hermit lifestyle, as studies show those who hide away tend to suffer more from depression and anxiety over the Winter months.
Deal with low moods
Winter can make us feel down sometimes. The weather is miserable, the days are shorter and the dark nights seem to go on forever. It’s natural to feel a little low when we don’t get as much outdoor exercise or sunshine over the Winter months. If you are feeling low, it’s important to deal with those feelings; Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real concern for many, and if you think you are suffering it’s important to seek help.
There are natural ways to boost your mood too:
- Make sure you get a daily boost of daylight. Don’t hide away inside- get as much natural sunlight as you can so that your body benefits.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, as these are known to stimulate and worsen mood swings.
- Use essential oils, such as wild orange, tangerine, lemon and bergamot. These are all known to energise and help to lift low moods.
Speak to friends, or even your GP if you are feeling low this Winter- don’t suffer in silence.
Yes, Winter makes us think of hot chocolate, warmed spiced wines and steaming mugs of soup, right? But don’t forget the humble glass of water! The increased use of central heating systems during Winter can make you more dehydrated than ever, so it’s important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Your overall health, skin, hair and nails will thank you for it!
What are your top tips for staying healthy in Winter?